Opening on Monday, June 24, a new exhibit at the Central Library celebrates the 50-year history of the SGN (Seattle Gay News), one of the longest-running LGBTQ+ newspapers in the world. It is on view in the Central Library’s Level 8 Gallery through Sunday, August 25, and is free and open to the public.

Seattle Gay News Celebrates 50 Years!” was created by the University of Washington Libraries and originally displayed at Allen Library in March 2024. Through headlines, page displays and cutouts, it documents the history of a newspaper that started in March 1974, reporting on arts, culture, health, politics and civil rights related to the LGBTQ+ community – covering stories that were often overlooked by other media. Highlights include coverage of the AIDS crisis, including memorials and obituaries; the fight for marriage equality and other civil rights; and the digital preservation of SGN archives.

The opening of the exhibit will be celebrated with a reception at the Central Library’s Level 8 Gallery on Thursday, June 27, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. A short program will start at 5:30 p.m. with speakers including Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, and representatives from The Seattle Public Library, UW Libraries and the SGN.

“This exhibit and preservation effort is a great example of how partners, including our amazing UW Libraries student employees, can work together to accomplish something bigger than each of us could do on our own,” said Jessica Albano, UW Libraries News Librarian. "It is also a great reminder of the important role news plays in our communities. Preserving and providing access to these primary sources are critical to learning about and understanding the history of our local communities."

“This exhibit of SGN history truly captures why we have become an institution in the LGBTQ+ community,” said SGN Editor Renee Raketty, who will assume ownership of the SGN on July 1, 2024. “Through the dedication and leadership of many staffers over the last five decades, the SGN not only reported on the trajectory of the LGBTQ+ experience here in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest but was also central to the organizing, events, and messaging that contributed to its historic progress. The SGN continues to perform this vital task and intends to do so for another 50 years.”

“The Seattle Public Library is grateful to our partners at University of Washington Libraries and the SGN for loaning us this historic and deeply moving exhibit and helping us make it widely accessible,” said Humanities librarian Emily Grayson. "It opens just six days before the Seattle Pride Parade will march on Sunday, June 30, in downtown Seattle not far from the Central Library. We hope parade goers will stop by!”


One section of the exhibit spotlights efforts to preserve and digitize SGN for historians, students, and interested community members. Through the collective efforts of many – past and present SGN staff, including longtime staff member Rick McKinnon and former publisher Angela Cragin; The Seattle Public Library; University of Washington Libraries; Seattle Municipal Archives; the Washington State Library; MOHAI; and HistoryLink – local partners and volunteers worked for months to find and preserve multiple, complete print runs of the newspaper and distribute them to libraries, museums and archives.

After the majority of the print runs were collected and distributed to partners in 2021, the Washington State Library’s Washington Digital Newspapers (WDN) program worked with the local archival partners to digitize the collection, which is now freely accessible via the Washington Digital Newspapers website. Current SGN Publisher Mike Schultz has also been digitizing SGN issues spanning the last 50 years in high-resolution color, which can be found online at

The exhibit is available for viewing during the Central Library’s open hours.


Founded in 1974, the SGN has been a lifeline for the LGBTQIA+ community in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, providing essential news, commentary, and resources. The SGN has a long-standing tradition of advocacy and independent journalism, dedicated to the voices and stories of the LGBTQIA+ community.


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